If you’re like me, you’ve grew up watching Kate Winslet grow up on screen. Refreshingly real and gloriously “un-Hollywood”, Winslet’s talent and tenacity has seen her rise to the very pinnacle of Tinseltown. Along the way she’s also worked with some of the most famous people in the world from Leonardo DiCaprio to Justin Timberlake and recently Woody Allen.
Famous for not mincing words, Winslet comes clean to Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh about her famous co-stars and directors, what it’s really like being a woman in Hollywood, memories from the filming of “Titanic” and her new film “Wonder Wheel” with Woody Allen…
I hear Woody Allen didn’t hold back when it came to giving “feedback” on your acting on the set of your new film, “Wonder Wheel”?
On the shoot at the famous New York amusement park, Allen interrupted one of her early takes — he shuffled over, looked her in the eye and told her she was “too actressy.” Most stars would have buckled under such harsh directions. “I thought it was hilarious,” Winslet says. “OK, what should I do?” As she recalls, Allen responded: “You know what to do. Don’t do anything. Do it better.”
This is what actress Shailene Woodley said about you…
“One of the greatest gifts I’ve had in my life is to receive the sisterhood of Kate,” says her pal Shailene Woodley, who met her in 2013 while making “Divergent.” “It’s easy to forget the amount of courage it takes to be someone like her, to stand up and talk to young women for as many years as she has about body image, self-confidence, being your own person and loving yourself.”
There have been some allegations brought against Woody Allen, did that factor into your to star in his new film?
Um. [Winslet narrates her own silence.] “She pauses.” It’s just a di cult discussion. I’d rather respectfully not enter it today.
There was criticism on social media to an interview you gave to The New York Times, where you said Allen provided “an extraordinary working experience.”What do you say to that?
I don’t read how people respond to things. We’re always as actors going to say the wrong thing. I think it’s better to respectfully step away from the discussion.
How did you react when you first read the script for Wonder Wheel?
When I finished reading it, honestly, my first thought was “I can’t play that part. I just don’t know how. Oh fuck!”
You had an on-screen affair with Justin Timberlake, what was that like?
Yeah, we had a lot of fun. I would say to him, “It’s such a relief that you’re not what any of us thought you were going to be. Because that would have been such a nightmare.” We shared a trailer. We had a thin partition wall between us. I would hear him peeing in the morning and singing to him- self, and I loved it.
You’re 42, does that impact the way you view roles or your career as an actress?
I love acting, truly more than ever. I definitely love being 42 and not 22 anymore, and how intact I feel. But also, with the exception of “Wonder Wheel,” I do tend to get very creatively involved. I have had a very collaborative relationship with directors and producers. I am sneakily developing some things as a producer. I have not said this out loud.
Everyone seem to want to direct, is it something you’re keen to explore in the future?
I would like to direct. I don’t know if I’d be any good at it. I love working with actors.
There’s lots of talk about the current state of women in Hollywood, what’s your experience of it?
I do feel like change is happening. I think women are getting better at carving out their own path. Yeah, there aren’t enough roles for women. I can honestly join my peers and say the same thing. There are times when the girl’s part just isn’t as good as the guy’s part or doesn’t have as much of a thrust within the core of a story. That’s why I say I’ve been getting more creatively involved. “Big Little Lies” was a true triumph of female force. Good on those girls. It’s about joining forces and buddying up.
Would you like to work with Leo (DiCaprio) again?
I’m sure we will. But I don’t think it will be for a very long time. I think when we’re probably much older.
What’s your clearest memory from “Titanic”?
My clearest specific memory is us shooting the scene behind the gate, where he loses the key. That was genuinely scary, and I didn’t like shooting that at all. Actually, I also remember Peter Jackson [who directed “Heavenly Creatures”] and Fran Walsh were in L.A. at the time, and they said, “Oh, we must come down and see you.” I’ve never told this story. I took them on set on a Sunday afternoon. We got out back, and the security guard said, “You can’t be here.” Until that moment, it hadn’t occurred to me. They were my friends. What’s lovely now is that James Cameron and Peter Jackson have a lot to do with each other because of Weta and “Avatar.” Of course you wanted to come visit! You’re so cheeky. Duh.
Do you let your children see your films?
The only film of mine I’ve seen more than once is “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” because my children love it. That’s really the only thing of mine they can actually see without their mother taking off her clothes or dying.